Understanding Honor

Honor: (from the Latin word honos, honoris) is the evaluation of a person's trustworthiness and social status based on that individual's espousals and actions. Honour is deemed exactly what determines a person's character: whether or not the person reflects honesty, respect, integrity, or fairness.

Honor: That which rightfully attracts esteem, respect, or consideration; self-respect; dignity; courage; fidelity; especially, excellence of character; high moral worth; virtue; nobleness; specif., in men, integrity; uprightness; trustworthness; in women, purity; chastity.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

  • Honor is character — of moral and ethical quality.
  • Honor is decency — quality and properness.
  • Honor is virtue — incorruptible, unwavering.
  • Honor is integrity — righteous and honest.
  • Honor is goodness — fair and pure.

Benefits of Honor

  • Honor provides safety — security provided by honesty and goodness.
  • Honor provides peace of mind — that comes from being genuine and trustworthy to ourselves and to others.
  • Honor provides confidence — through unwavering definiteness of purpose.
  • Honor provides dignity — by living a life committed to justice and integrity.
  • Honor provides clarity — freedom from confusion as to how to choose and how to live.

Acts of Honor in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — The fifth of the Ten Commandments granted to Moses and the Israelites at Mt. Sinai "Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you." — Exodus 19:23
  • Duels to the Death — In days gone by, people died to preserve honor. It was common for men to fight duels to the death in order to defend their honor. While serving as Vice-President under Thomas Jefferson in 1804, Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel defending his honor.
  • Honoring the Dead — Throughout the world, all people put aside certain days of the year in which we honor those who have given of themselves, many with their very lives, for the love of their country so others can be free. In America, Memorial Day is celebrated for this purpose.
  • Codes of Honor — Found in military and in academic settings primarily, consisting of sets of rules or principles that govern a community based on ideals that define honorable behavior within that community. Their purpose, to instill in people the significance of acting with honor and integrity at all times.
  • Positive Parenting — Tell Stories, when on a long drive, during dinner, anytime and all the time. Expose your children to stories about how you or your parents displayed integrity and honor. Find current events they can relate to that demonstrate living examples of people live life and stand for something.

Methods for Achieving Honor

  • Learn True Humility — Being humble is the first step toward honor.
  • Live with Definiteness of Purpose — Develop convictions of the heart and stand for them with consistency.
  • Put Ego Aside — Being honorable means doing the right thing, not doing what we feel like doing.
  • Learn to Commit — Make your word your bond. Always.
  • Develop and Maintain an Integrity Meter — Ask yourself, does this action I am about to engage in fit what I stand for and believe in.

Golden Mean

Dishonor, Disgrace
Arrogance, Superciliousness, Condescension, Snobbery, Snootiness, Pretentiousness, Conceit, Pomposity

Quotes for Honor

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.
- Mark Twain -
It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!
- Emilano Zapata -
The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.
- Aristotle -
Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.
- Sophocles -
The sense of honor is of so fine and delicate a nature, that it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble, or in such as have been cultivated by good examples or a refined education.
- Joseph Addison -

Recommended Reading

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty — by Peter Collier

A glorious tribute to the living Medal of Honor recipients in America. Every young American should be required to read this book.

Men of Honor Women of Virtue: Raising Kids to Keep the Faith — by Chuck Stecker

An excellent tool for parents, counselors, or anybody who works with young people and wishes to instill virtues in young people.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor George Bernard Shaw